My Two Year Old Is Driving Me Crazy!

Updated on February 08, 2007
L.S. asks from Marietta, OH
13 answers

Help! I don't know what to do with my 29 month old daughter. It is awful. She screams and cries all day long. She cries and screams and kicks me when I try to dress her. She cries and screams when I change her diaper. She freaks out if you do anything she doesn't like or want. When you try to talk to her she growls at you so she doesn't have to listen to what you say to her. I have tried time out, and just putting her in her room. I have even spanked her twice. Nothing gets her attention or seems to be working. I am at my wits end with her. It is embarassing when we are in public and it is frustrating at home. It's not even 10 am in the morning and I feel like crying because I have listened to so much crying and screaming already today.

I don't scream and yell at her. Neither I nor my husband hit her or each other. *we just recently spanked her when she started all this crazy screaming and kicking and hitting* We don't know where she has learned this behavior. I am a stay at home mom with her and my 16 month old daughter. It is starting to affect my younger daughter as well. She gets really freaked out when the older one starts screaming.

any advice? HELP!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone who responded!! We are doing better this week. The screaming and crying continues but I think I am getting used to it. I can better ignore it now and stay calmer. She is starting to understand that it really isn't getting her anywhere fast. I also started asking "hey! where did that dinosaur come from? I thought I had a little girl." when she growls. She thinks that is funny and says. "I not a dinosaur. I'm Ki Ki!". and forgets what she was getting mad about.

I know that sometimes the "screaming and kicking" can be a sign of autism, but there are no red flag signs with my daughter. I'm not worried about that being the cause. She is developmentally ahead for her age and has none of the "red flag" symptoms.

I just don't want any of you to think I blew you or your suggestions off!
Thanks so much to everyone!

Featured Answers



answers from Louisville on


My almost 2-year old daughter acts the exact same way...but she only seems to do this with me and my husband. I know it can drive you crazy!!!

I've had a few people tell me to "break her of this", which means give her a spanking. That seems to only worsen the situation and I just don't want her thinking that hitting someone will make them do what you want them to do.

What I have been doing is just walking away and letting her cry it out. I know it can be nerve-racking, but it seems to be slowly working with my daughter.

So don't feel like you are all alone. I really feel think this is a phase and it will pass.

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answers from Lexington on

don't let her win. that is my most simple advice for you. at all cost, don't let her win. and i've heard dr. phil say that too. you and she will pay later when she gets into more dangerous situations.

be consistant. my 3 yr old son is very strong willed as well. your child must know what your reaction will be every single time ( or at least 99% of the time, we're not perfect) and your spouse/other primary care giver must be on the same page with you or she will try to pull stuff on them.

i remember the first 6 months of my son's second year. the days were long and trying and the battles never ending. hang in there, don't let her win, be consitant. it will pay off. now a year later, he's more mature and those "bad" days are more spread out. my mom once said to me when i was complaing about how he was acting. she said "imagine how he would be if you did not discipline him!" that was encouraging and i knew while he wasn't the best behaved child, i was doing all i could to train him in the right way.

and my last advice, maybe she needs some time away from you in a group of kids or something. i'm a stay at home mom too. my husband and i always said our boys wouldn't go to preschool and i'd do academic things with them at home since i used to be a teacher. but after seeing our sons personality blossom, he needed to be around other kids and learn social skills like he's not the most important, he has to listen to all adults along with many other skills.

hang in there!



answers from South Bend on


I am a mother of three .My kids are 10, 8 and 6. It seem like you oldest one that has fits are just not used to haveing a younger sibling. Don't worry it won't last for long. I know it is hard. You said that she throws a fit when you get her dressed, well let her try to pick her own cloths out and dress her self, let her try to do things on her own , and then when you put the baby down play games with her , or maybe read a book, let her help make her meals and let her help get thing for the baby. If she throws her fit,just leave her where she is and walk away, She will figur it out sooner or later that your the mom and she is not getting her way. I wish you the best of luck. I hope some of the advise I gave you works.

sincerly, R.



answers from Lexington on

Unfortunately a lot of what you are describing is normal two year old behavior. You have to be strong and make sure that she knows who is boss. That she knows it is not her no matter what she does. Once you find a consequence that works stick to it. For now try different things until you find something that really makes her take notice. Maybe that is losing a favorite toy or being away from everyone else so she doesn't have an audience. It might be just totally ignoring her behavior and walking away. It's hard to have a temper tantrum when no one is paying attention. Now not all kids will stop when you walk away but you would be surprised how many are doing it to get the attention negative as it may be.

Most of all hang in there and know that this to shall pass at least until she is a teenager. :)




answers from Lexington on

Is it possible that she is acting out because she knows it gets your attention? Two year olds also act this way because they are frustrated and cannot tell you exactly what they want/need, so they have a meltdown. I would try what others have suggested--don't react to her screaming. Just stay calm and ignore it. Have you tried having a mommy-daughter afternoon where you spend time with her alone? Maybe she needs something like that. You should also look into baby signs. They're fun and easy to learn. Learning those might give her the ability to communicate with you and tell you what she needs rather than getting frustrated. Another simple thing that might help her frustration level is letting her do things herself. Let her choose her outfit and try to put it on by herself, let her bring you a diaper and wipes and then throw away the dirty diaper, give her a rag and let her help you clean, things like that. It might make her feel useful and important and help her feel more independent.



answers from Indianapolis on

I would first like to say, Julie, I LOVE your advice, that I will have to try that with my almost 3 year old twins. However, L., when my twins did that, I learned to just walk away and ignore them. Sometimes, when one of them would follow me around throwing a fit, over something that was just off the wall, I would look at the other twin and say "do you hear someone crying/whining/etc.?", that would make the other quit. I hope someones advice helps. I know this advice helped me with VERY similar problems I had, but Julie's advice I think will help me with my problems. THANKS for your post L., it has helped me as well! Good Luck!



answers from Fort Wayne on

First of all, this isn't "normal two year old behavior". My kids never acted like that. The reason I say that is because I don't want you to end up dismissing the behavior as a "phase". If you do, trust me, you'll have it much much worse in a couple of years when she's able to fully communicate with you and also begins to think that she knows everything. What I would do, and have done with my own kids, is find something that she finds sacred. When you do, whether it be a favorite toy or a favorite show she watches on tv, take it away from her when she starts acting up, and let her earn it back. Also, when she starts acting up, just take her into her room without saying anything to her, and tell her calmly that she can come back out with you when she's done crying. You really have to choose battles with her too. If she starts screaming when you are trying to change her diaper, then let her sit in a dirty diaper and tell her when she's ready to let you change her and make her more comfortable, to let you know. As far as kicking and hitting, that behavior is severe for that age and should be unacceptable. Definitely make her apologize, and take her favorite toy away for a while. If that doesn't work, try standing her in a corner, or maybe no tv for an hour. When I was first teaching my kids about proper behavior when we were out, meaning no screaming and what not, I practiced with them at the mall. I'd put them in the stroller and if one started crying, I'd quickly go down a hallway where a bathroom was and stop. I'd tell them "No crying in stores. We're going to stay here until you're done, and when you're done, we'll move again" Believe me, it didn't take more than a few times of finding a hallway to wait their tantrums out before they realized how boring it was to just sit there. I mean, I wasn't getting upset, which is partially why they throw tantrums, to upset their parents and get their way. So, since I was just letting them wail it out in a boring hallway, they quickly learned to "not cry in stores". Even after the mall practices, I would do the same thing in Walmart. I'd stop the cart right away when they'd cry and the crying would immediately stop.

When my kids have days where they're whiny, I have a "whining chair" where they go each time they whine for no good reason. I've also sent them to their rooms until they're done. This way, noone else in the house is suffering from listening to them, and the child who's acting up as isolated herself and will quickly learn that the behavior isn't worth the consequence.



answers from Fort Wayne on

Sorry to hear your going through such a tough time. my ds is only 14 months, but is showing some of the same signs. I've been reading the book, Happiest toddler on the block, and it has some good ideas. I think it's available at the library.

best of luck



answers from Huntington on

You should have her checked for Autism. My friend's little boy did the same thing and he was diagnosed with it. The behavior she is showing is classic signs of Autism.



answers from Indianapolis on

Hello! My name is A.. I have three children and also a stay at home mother. My son who is now three use to do that a lot. I am not sure how or why he stopped but he spent a lot of time in the corner. He didn't like it, so we had to stand behind him to make sure he stayed there. ANy after about a month of tough love he stopped. Now my daughter who is two is starting it. I am doing the same thing with her. It is getting better. I do think that this is an average behavior , but to us stay at home mothers it is harder to handle, because we hear and see it happening 24/7. My husband didn't think it was so bad because he wasn't here all day, but I left the children with him and enjpyed a girls day out. When I can home, he said sorry and from then on tried to help me controll the behaviors more often. My advaice is to keep tring and things will get better. My daughter is now 29 months old, and she is much better. SHe only does that about once a month! If it is possible take a day away, or join a play group to keep the little ones busy!
I hope that this helps!



answers from Fort Wayne on

look into having her tested for Autism. Sounds like one of my nephews who has it.



answers from Indianapolis on

I just wanted to say "Wow." Julie's response is awesome.

I don't have a 2 year old. I do have a two month old, and already I know how hard it is to keep your cool when your daughter is screaming and kicking and not cooperating with whatever it is that you're trying to do. However hard it is, that's what you need to do--just keep cool. If she knows that she's getting to you, she's going to keep doing it. So keep a straight face, calmly let her know that throwing a fit is not going to get her what she wants, and when she's done, talk to her normally again. Hitting, kicking, etc. definitely warrant an apology. When she calms down from the tantrum, tell her "You need to say sorry for hitting me. Hitting hurts, and it isn't nice to hurt people." (I watch a lot of SuperNanny. Can you tell?) ;)



answers from Indianapolis on

i think it's all about being two. my daughter just turned two on sunday. she's been acting this way for a couple of months now. when she throws fits/tantrums, whathaveyou, i just walk away from her. i'm not going to waste my effort fighting with her to do time out, rather i walk away and hope she catches on that her behavior isn't getting her any attention, good or bad. it makes me nuts too, though. i feel your pain! good luck and you're not the only one.

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